Home > Uncategorized > Regents About Face Evidence of VAM’s Worthlessness

Regents About Face Evidence of VAM’s Worthlessness

Kate Taylor of the NYTimes reported today that the Board of Regents voted to decouple test scores from teacher evaluations, the ultimate repudiation of Duncan/Cuomo’s efforts to lay the blame for poor performance on tests on the doorsteps of teachers. As the Times reported without judgment,

The vote completed a sharp reversal of the state’s policy earlier this year, when the Legislature voted to increase the weight of test scores in evaluations.

The Regents were following a recommendation made last week by a task force created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. It called for revising the state’s standards on what students should know and eliminating state tests when evaluating teachers, at least through the 2018-19 school year.

The task force’s report, which came with Mr. Cuomo’s implicit approval, represented an about face by the governor, a Democrat, who in January had called for test scores to account for half of some teachers’ evaluations.

At that time, he declared that the tests needed to be used for evaluations since students were “failing” them at record highs while 96% of the teachers received solid evaluations. At the time I wrote a post indicating that the 96% figure seemed right to me based on my 29 years experience as an administrator and the notion of using tests to evaluate teacher, especially tests whose cut scores could be manipulated for political purposes, seemed preposterous.

While it is heartening to see a 180 degree turnabout by the governor and the Regents, it is disheartening to see that the Times made no mention of the fact that statisticians have challenged the use of value added measures and gave no indication that that fact played a role in the Regent’s determination to stop using the tests to “measure” teacher effectiveness. Until State Boards and the mainstream media make the public aware of the invalidity of VAM advocates will continue promoting it as the best means of measuring teacher performance…. because it is inexpensive, objective, and seemingly precise.

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